Death riddle of crash driver

A LORRY driver killed in a crash on the A14 could have died from sudden adult death syndrome, an inquest into his death heard.Kevan Paterson suffered horrific injuries when his Scania lorry careered into the pillar of a bridge on the A14 at Nacton in the early hours of September 7.

A LORRY driver killed in a crash on the A14 could have died from sudden adult death syndrome, an inquest into his death heard.

Kevan Paterson suffered horrific injuries when his Scania lorry careered into the pillar of a bridge on the A14 at Nacton in the early hours of September 7.

An inquest held at Ipswich Crown Court heard that Mr Paterson's father had died aged 51 from sudden adult death syndrome (SADS) and in the weeks leading up to his death Mr Paterson had complained of ill-health.

On the morning Mr Paterson died driving conditions were good, traffic was light and the experienced lorry driver had followed all the driving regulations, including taking the prescribed 45-minute rest break during his shift.

But as he approached Nacton on the Felixstowe-bound carriageway of the A14 at 3.45am the lorry the 46-year-old was driving left the road and collided with a safety barrier before ploughing into the bridge at 50mph.

The impact compacted the front of the lorry's cab while the trailer it was hauling careered into the back of the cab, crushing it from behind.

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A police investigation into the accident found Mr Paterson's lorry had been in good working order and a report by officers suggested tiredness could have been a contributing factor.

However in recording a verdict of accidental death, Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said he could not rule out SADS as a possible cause.

Dr Dean told the inquest: “There's no suggestion of any alcohol or drugs present. There was no specific cause or contributing factor found in the investigation of the vehicle itself.

“Given the evidence of his father having a sudden death the possibility must also be there that he might have had some sudden disturbance of the heart or some other cause.”

But he added: “The possibility of tiredness is put forward as a very reasonable possibility by the officers.”

On the night before his death Mr Paterson, a step-father of seven children and eight grandchildren, had been woken by his wife Judith after sleeping longer than usual and he had complained of a headache.

By the time Mr Paterson left for work, a shift which saw him drive to Northamptonshire and back to Nacton on his way to Felixstowe, his headache was gone but it was the latest in a string of health complaints in the weeks before his death.

He had complained of back ache and had displayed uncharacteristic forgetfulness.

On the morning he died Mr Paterson, who operated the haulage firm JK Carriers, drove 390 kilometres and was working a shift for Dart Distribution at Felixstowe.

A HEARTBROKEN Judith Paterson today told how she believed no one would ever know the true cause of the crash which took her soulmate's life.

The grieving widow of A14 crash victim Kevan Paterson said: “He had had unusual forgetfulness and he had complained of pains in his back.

“At the end of the day we can only surmise because we're never going to know the truth. Only he can tell us what happened.

“It was his time, I do believe that.”

Mr Paterson's death has left Mrs Paterson facing life without the man who became the love of her life.

The pair first met when they were children at Priory Heath Primary School but their love only blossomed after they both experienced failed marriages and were reunited through a lonely hearts advert in The Evening Star six years ago.

The pair spoke for three weeks before agreeing to meet and it turned out to be a meeting which would change both their lives.

Mrs Paterson, 50, of Laud Mews, Ipswich, said: “From the first time we met we fell in love.

“He was the most fantastic, loving, generous, beautiful man and I miss him so much. He was my life and I will always miss him.

“Our love was just instant, there's not many people who can actually say that but I can say that.”

Mr and Mrs Paterson married in 2001 and would have celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary last month.

Instead Mrs Paterson has been left with memories of their time together, cruelly cut short by the September 7 accident which claimed her husband's life.

She said: “He was very passionate about his family. Everyone loved him. He was such a nice man.

“He was a gentle giant, a big old softy.”

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